i saw the stars through an opening in the jungle canopy.
and they kept me sane, that night.
the night after the fire fight was fraught with fear
and i clutched my M-16 so tightly, that my shoulder hurt,
and my hand went numb.
i thought of the model B-29 bombers i had assembled as a boy...
the aircraft carriers, my army men, and all the war movies I had seen.
so futile now, it was a dishonest joke to me.
i couldn't scratch my feet, and the jungle rot was killing me.
i couldn't smoke, 'cause it might make me dead.
and every so often i thought of the boy i had killed, that day
a boy/man with yellow skin who missed his mother
and i held him in my arms, as his life drifted away.
then i dispelled that thought by looking up at the stars
the stars kept saving me that night
but the real me was gone forever
and the twenty-two year old boy was lost
in a land half-way 'round the world
inhabited by yellow men, who i did not hate
rather, i feared them
and i counted the days
and became a short-timer
and never expected to see my mother again
but looked at the stars each night
and prayed foxhole prayers
hoping against hope that i was wrong
now forty years have passed
and she is gone
and i miss her
but i have come back
though i'm somewhat damaged
but i forgive myself and the world
and the stars still comfort me.